Go Extra Mile to Deepen Ties with Bangladesh

Published: 26th June 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th June 2014 12:21 AM   |  A+A-

Pursuing prime minister Narendra Modi’s foreign policy focus on South Asia, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has started her three-day visit to Bangladesh on Wednesday. This is her first visit abroad as foreign minister and the choice of Bangladesh shows the importance India attaches to its neighbourhood. The visit, which will be essentially exploratory in nature without any major agreements on the agenda, is expected to help overcome several prickly issues of interest to Bangladesh and India. Bangladesh under Sheikh Hasina has been seen as sensitive to India’s security concerns. New Delhi must be ready to go the extra mile to deepen its ties with the eastern neighbour.

The latter has already helped India contain insurgency in the north-east. Dhaka has also acted against fanatical Islamists in Bangladesh, including those who sided with Pakistan during the liberation war. It can be said to be on the way to fulfil Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s dream of a secular country that is friendly towards India, its ally during the independence movement. It goes without saying that better economic links with Bangladesh will help develop India’s underdeveloped north-eastern region and stem militancy there. Some headway may also be made on the Teesta waters treaty and border delineation.

Although there are elements in Bangladesh who would like to sustain the atmosphere of tension between the two countries by exploiting religious sentiments and portraying India as Big Brother, the ordinary people have no time for such mischief-mongers and would like to strengthen the cultural ties fostered by a sense of oneness between the two halves of Bengal. The infiltration of illegal immigrants into West Bengal and Assam is a cause for concern. But, it is an issue related to the earning of livelihood in a relatively poor country which a larger and richer neighbour faces everywhere, whether in the US-Mexican region or in Europe. An economic upturn in Bangladesh as a result of trade with India should alleviate this problem to some extent.

Stay up to date on all the latest Editorials news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp